If you’re looking for a job – or facing the necessity of finding a new role – the interview stage of the recruitment process can be the most essential. Your CV and references have brought you this far but the pressure is on to ensure that you make a good impression and stand out from the crowd on the day. Preparation is essential for interviews. With preparation and practice you can get yourself ready for any face-to-face challenge.
Find out where you’re going
Start with the simplest piece of preparation – the logistics. Make sure you know where you’re going before the morning of the interview arrives and work out the fastest and easiest transport route for getting there. Time the route so that you know exactly how long you’ll need for travel and try to arrive 15 minutes early so you have time to gather your thoughts. The easiest way to make a bad first impression at interview is to be late and this can set the tone for the entire conversation so it’s crucial to avoid it.
Make all your practical decisions now
What to wear to an interview can be difficult if you leave it until the last minute. Find out what the dress code for the business is and try to match your clothes to that – if you can’t get any information on this then business casual is a good fallback. Consider everything, from what shoes to wear to how to style your hair and what bag to carry. Lay everything out the night before – along with any documents you need to take – so that you don’t have to make these decisions on the day.
Do your research
It’s crucial to ensure you stand out as someone who has taken the time to prepare properly for the interview.
- Make sure you understand the job. What are the skills and experience they’re looking for, do they mention personal qualities, and what exactly does the day-to-day of the role entail?
- Match your profile to the job requirements. Once you have a list of everything the job requires, start matching this up to your own skills, experience and attributes so that you can talk about this effortlessly in the interview.
- Research the business. Read the website, company profiles, blogs and LinkedIn posts to see what information the company has made available about its operations, values and goals. Look for mentions on social media and in the press so that you’re as well informed as possible before you walk through the door.
Practice for the interview
Get a friend or colleague to run you through a practice interview so that you’re used to answering questions about your CV, skills and experience. Think about how you’re going to greet the interviewer and what kind of body language would convey a positive impression during the interview itself. Ask your practice interviewer to give you some feedback on factors such as confidence, clarity of answers and how you come across. When you’re practicing your interview technique remember:
- Calm and open body language and maintaining eye contact will make you seem interested and engaged
- A good interviewee listens, as well as talks
- You’ll need to prepare some intelligent questions that incorporate the in-depth research you’ve done
- Being open and enthusiastic about being interested in the job is often a plus – this is not the place to play hard to get
Our CV Writing and Interview Confidence Building course is an excellent way to prepare for the challenge of taking the next step in your career.